Aleksandar Mitrovic is hungry for success at Newcastle United - and he believes the club has the best man at the helm in “winner” Steve McClaren.
The 20-year-old Serbian striker was handed his full debut at Old Trafford and impressed, leading the line in McClaren’s 4-2-3-1 formation.
The manager is a winner, he wants to win every game.Aleksandar Mitrovic
Showing plenty of controlled aggression, he gave the Manchester United defence a tough workout and almost scored with a powerful header that smashed off the bar.
And now that he has had his first start in English football, he is desperate for more.
Newcastle are back in action tonight, hosting League Two side Northampton Town in the second round of the Capital One Cup.
Mitrovic, who could be rested tonight despite his intention to play every game, says McClaren’s winning mentality has been drummed into the squad ahead of the game at St James’s Park (KO 7.45pm) - McClaren winning the competition with Middlesbrough back in 2004.
“The manager is a winner,” Mitrovic told the Gazette.
“He wants to win every game.
“He brings to us this mentality and if you want to build something this season then we need that type of character.”
The head coach spoke recently of the importance of bringing in strong characters this summer and Mitrovic - one of five summer signings - certainly fits the bill.
The former Partizan Belgrade frontman has had to bide his time since arriving in the North East, restricted to cameo appearances from the subs bench for the games against Southampton and Swansea City.
But he was in from the start against Louis van Gaal’s Man United, with Papiss Cisse dropping down to the bench.
“Now I have the shirt I don’t want to give it up,” added Mitrovic, who signed from Anderlecht in a deal worth £13million.
“I want to play [tonight] but we will see. It is up to the coach, if I play it will be good for my body and my fitness.
“We have shown [against Manchester United] that we can play well against big teams.
“It was a difficult game but we need to show that level of performance every week to get points in the Premier League.”
Mitrovic admits moving to the top flight of English football is a “big step” in his fledgling career.
The summer of 2012 saw Mitrovic sign his first professional contract with Partizan Belgrade. Despite his tender years, he finished his first season with Belgrade as their top scorer, finding the back of the net 15 times at a rate of almost a goal every other game before joining Anderlecht.
In his two seasons at Anderlecht, Mitrovic scored 36 goals in just 69 appearances, helping his side lift the Belgian Pro League title and Belgian Super Cup in 2014.
And the hardworking striker, who thrives on crosses, is keen to repay the faith shown in him since joining Newcastle United.
He almost opened his account on his full debut, connecting powerfully with a Chancel Mbemba cross only to see it rattle the crossbar.
Mitrovic said: “It is a wonderful for me to be part of this team and this club.
“I am going to give everything every game to score goals and hopefully it will get easier for me. This is a good platform for me.
“Newcastle is a big club and I can and I want to run a lot for my teammates. This is a big step for me.”
Mitrovic admits he learned a lot from his first couple of matches in the Premier League - having twice been booked within moments of leaving the bench - and will be looking to notch his first league goal this weekend when Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal visit.
But Mitrovic, who has 13 international caps for Serbia, insists he isn’t even thinking about the Gunners just yet - with all the focus on tonight’s match.
He added: “We need to go game by game, step by step. We need to win tonight and then we can speak about Arsenal.”